Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on My TBR List For Summer 2015
When I was teaching middle school, summer was my time to catch up on “adult” books, as August through May was pretty much dedicated to keeping up with new young adult books and reading recommendations from my students. (I never would have picked up the Percy Jackson series had the entire set not been put on my desk by a student, telling me I NEEDED to read these! He was right. They were great!) Then, for a few years, there was no need for “summer reading” lists, as summer reading was no different from my winter reading. It was just one, ever-growing “to be read” list. But, now that I am back in school, taking credits all summer long, this year’s summer reading list isn’t filled with the latest Gone Girl-esque thriller or Hollywood blockbuster pre-read; my list is pretty much all school-related. That’s not a bad thing though! It must means my summer reading list is filled with travel literature, which is a perfect fit for the summer, school or no school!
So what am I reading this summer? This!
An Area of Darkness by V.S. Naipaul – Raised in the Caribbean and educated in Britain, but of Indian ancestry, Naipaul documents his first trip to India in this travel narrative that focuses on both the physical travel and the cultural distinctions of this unique nation.
Chasing the Sea: Lost Among the Ghosts of Empire in Central Asia by Tom Bissell- This is both a travel narrative and a history lesson about Uzbekistan. Bissell was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan, but left the service after seven months, due to personal reasons. Years later, he goes back to the country where he struggled so much to see it in a new light and to report on the ecological disaster that has surrounded the Aral Sea.
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume- Judy Blume’s books were a huge part of my childhood, so I can’t wait to have a few free days to read her newest publication. I will definitely be getting to this one before the summer is over. “In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, she paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place—Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable,” Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on.” (Amazon summary)
Looking for Lovedu: Days and Nights in Africa by Ann Jones- This one is the travel story of Ann Jones and a photographer who set out to travel Africa, from one coast to the other. (I ordered this a month ago and it has not arrived due to shipping issues. It is killing me that it hasn’t arrived yet!)
Nothing to Declare: Memories of a Woman Traveling Alone by Mary Morris– This travel memoir follows Morris’ move to a small Mexican town and her travels throughout Mexico and Central America.
Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century by James Clifford- “In this collage of essays, meditations, poems, and travel reports, Clifford takes travel and its difficult companion, translation, as openings into a complex modernity. He contemplates a world ever more connected yet not homogeneous, a global history proceeding from the fraught legacies of exploration, colonization, capitalist expansion, immigration, labor mobility, and tourism.” (Amazon summary)
The Bird Man and the Lap Dancer: Close Encounters with Strangers by Eric Hansen- “Eric Hansen survives a cyclone on a boat off the Australian coast, cradles a dying man in Calcutta, and drinks mind-altering kava in Vanuatu. He helps a widower search for his wife’s wedding ring amid plane-crash wreckage in Borneo and accompanies topless dancers on a bird-watching expedition in California. From the Maldives to Sacramento, from Cannes to Washington Heights, Eric Hansen has a way of getting himself into the most sacred ceremonies and the most candid conversations.” (Amazon summary)
Travel Writing: The Self and the World by Casey Blanton– This one is an academic book which survey’s the development of the travel writing genre from early writings through more modern ones. It probably isn’t going to be on many people’s summer reading lists, but I am hoping it is a great foundation for future research.
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman- I started reading this book in early April, before all of my school books showed up. I only got through the first two short stories before I dove into my coursework, but I can’t stop thinking about this book! It is sitting on my nightstand and I look at it daily with longing! I can’t wait to sneak it in at the end of the summer when I am between terms!
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling- Technically, this is not a summer read, as it does not come out until mid-September, but I can’t wait to get my hands on it! I loved her first book and am thrilled she is publishing a second. This one comes out September 15. I will have a review on September 16! This one may fall last on my alphabetical list, but it is easily the one I am most excited for!